were the words that the Nobel Prize winner Odysseas Elytis
used in his "Ode to Santorini" to pay tribute to the Santorini
They provide a wonderful description of the magnificent image of the eruption that gave the island its present form. Volcanologists have much to say about this phenomenon, but its true magic can only be appreciated through the senses.
So, take a walk on Palia and Nea Kameni, touch the solidified lava, swim in the warm green waters at Palia Kameni, see the smoke coming out of the crater, smell the sulphur in the air. However, before you get on to the boat for a trip to the Kameni islands, take a look at the history of the volcano.
Once upon a time, over 4.000 years ago, there was a round island in the southern Aegean, called Strongyli. It had been cre-ated piece by piece from solidified lava produced by the volcano.
On Strongyli, at the town of Akrotiri, prospered one of the most significant prehistoric civilisations of the Mediterranean.
Nevertheless, some time between 1625 and 1635 BC, the volcano erupted. Known as "the Minoan eruption", it caused a big part of Strongyli to sink and created a huge crater that filled with sea-water - and this is how what is now called the Caldera was formulated.
The civilisation at Akrotiri was buried beneath the lava and only three pieces were left of Strongyli: Santorini, Thirassia and Aspronissi. Much later, the volcano gave birth to two more islands, Palia and Nea Kameni, which people now refer to as "the volcano". Palia Kameni was the result of a series of erup-tions from 46 BC to 726 AD, while Nea Kameni was "built" by six successive erup-tions between 1570 and 1950
A trip to the Kameni islands Even before the boat arrives at Erinia bay, from where the tour of Nea Kameni begins, the enormous black lava blocks of Daphne, the volcano's largest crater, come into view. Once on the island, ask one of your guides to silow you the strange "domes" (magma "That froze in mid air), whose crdfka will remind you of bread crusts. Also impressive are the crystalline rocks in a variety of colours, white, dark green, and honey-coloured, that interrupt the black back-ground of the volcano.